Hangover, The: Part Two

The best you could say about “The Hangover Part II,” the eagerly anticipated sequel to the 2009 original, is that it is mildly funny.  It has its moments here and there—a chuckle-worthy rendition of Billy Joel’s “Allentown” with new, obscene lyrics, a tender farewell to a cigarette-smoking, drug-dealing monkey—but there is just not that much movie to go around this time.


“The Hangover Part II” feels padded at 102 minutes. At the same time, it sticks so closely to the original’s template that it could almost be deemed a remake rather than sequel. To quote Yogi Berra, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

Add to that humor that never transcends the juvenile, and you have an annoying movie. Director Todd Philips and his writing team, Scot Armstrong and Craig Mazin, fill the film with penis jokes, Asian stereotypes, and pop culture references. Hey guys, kind of boring.

Nevertheless, many young men are probably going to be thrilled by the movie’s “Crying Game” moment, in which a sexy prostitute turns out to be a man. This must be the “Hangover” target audience: white dudes in their teens and twenties, possibly early thirties, who need to see all their sexual and racial insecurities played out on the big screen. Aren’t we past this?

A movie like this needs as many solid one-liners as possible. While there are a couple of great ones—“I wish monkeys could Skype” being a personal favorite—most of them fire off in random directions and never land anywhere of note.

The first part of the film goes to great pains to reintroduce the characters, still recovering from their Las Vegas misadventure in “The Hangover.” This much exposition seems like a waste of time for a comedy of this nature.


It is also a mistake on the director’s part to spend so much capital on reminding us of the first movie—when he is about to offer us up such a poor excuse for a sequel. The unintentional message that comes through loud and clear: “Remember how much fun the first movie was? Not like this, right?”

Even when the guys finally get to Thailand for the main action, “The Hangover Part II” takes its pretty time picking up any steam. Their protracted search through Bangkok for a missing teenager who partied too hard with them on another lost night gets old fast. By the time Philips works up to a short, energetic car chase through teeming streets, we have written this movie off as “not really happening.”

The characters themselves, which should be the film’s strongest selling point, are not really happening either. Stu (Ed Helms), Phil (Bradley Cooper), and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) all feel undercooked now—less than one-dimensional. Philips often has the three screaming at one another as they trek through Bangkok, ugly Americans if there ever were any. The chemistry among the three actors has gone flat, and their bickering starts to feel interminable.

Helms in particular is less appealing than before, unable to get back into character. Too often garbling his lines does not help matters.

Added to the mix is Paul Giamatti trying to be threatening in an ill-conceived cameo. The new teen character, Teddy (Mason Lee), Stu’s fiancée’s little brother, could have been developed into a genuine addition but is basically discarded for most of the movie.

Overall, “The Hangover Part II” has a slapdash quality. The filmmakers probably should have taken more time to think things through. The movie even looks slapped together: the mise-en-scene is sloppy, the makeup is uneven, and there are continuity errors galore.

The film ends on a decidedly sour note when the guys discover, as in the first movie, digital photos of the night they cannot remember. One of these photos nastily recreates an iconic Eddie Adams photo from the Vietnam War: friend of the gang Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) stands in for a Vietcong prisoner an instant before being executed.



Dr. Stuart “Stu” Price – Ed Helms

Phil Wenneck – Bradley Cooper

Alan Garner – Zach Galifianakis

Doug Billings – Justin Bartha

Leslie Chow – Ken Jeong

Teddy – Mason Lee

Bad guy – Paul Giamatti


A Legendary Pictures release.

Directed by Todd Phillips.

Written by Todd Phillips, Scot Armstrong, and Craig Mazin.

Produced by Todd Phillips and Daniel Goldberg.

Cinematography, Lawrence Sher.

Editing, Deborah Neil-Fisher and Mike Sale.

Original Music, Christophe Beck.

Running time: 102 minutes.